Fashion is an industry that involves more than clothing; it also intertwines with film, design, photography, journalism, ethics, and politics. To highlight its importance, the Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas will host the first edition of SCCI Fashion Hub, an event that will present talks, workshops, screenings and performances from the 5th to the 21st of April in Sydney.
The mastermind behind the project is Dr Gene Sherman, who’s managed art galleries and cultural centres throughout her career. “Thirty-one years of exhibition making, first at Sherman Galleries (1986–2007) and then at SCAF (2008- 2017), has been something of a marathon and, simultaneously, a great privilege. We now move forward with Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas (SCCI).” Through it, she’s organized the Fashion Hub event in April, and another one related to architecture later in October.

But why fashion? Well, according to her, “fashion, in particular, has lacked serious attention as a sophisticated, intellectually rich and multifaceted mode of creative expression. Through SCCI, we seek to elevate it to a more prominent position alongside other art forms, and begin a conversation that is long overdue.” Indeed, fashion is going to be the most talked about topic in Sydney for more than two weeks, since SCCI Fashion Hub will gather both renowned and emerging actors of the industry.
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Nasim Nasr, Women in Shadow, Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide, 2011. Photo: Rodney Magazinovic
 “We plan to shine a spotlight on fashion in all its complexity. With events for industry professionals, the interested public and small children through to teenagers, our in-depth programme covers a multiplicity of fashion related topics: fashion ethics, fashion in the museum, fashion films, fashion words, fashion photography and fashion illustration. In addition, we will explore issues around textiles, craftsmanship, fashion as business and fashion as art”, states Dr Sherman. Well, to us it sounds like a perfect plan.

Among the top highlights of this first edition, there is the inaugural keynote on Thursday with Emmanuel Coquery, the current Director of Exhibitions of the Grand Palais in Paris and former Chanel’s Director of Heritage. Coquery will discuss how has fashion been legitimated in the past recent years – with examples of blockbuster exhibitions such as Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and Manus ex machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology –, but also if on an academic, institutional and public level, it has been totally elevated to the category of Art.
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Mella Jaarsma, The Landscaper, 2013. Photo: Mie Cornoedus
Another highlight not to be missed is Fashion Words, a full day dedicated to fashion in its written medium – magazines, books, blogs, etc. On Saturday 7, you can’t miss the keynote by Bandana Tewari, Editor-at-Large of Vogue India, who will be talking about the relationship between traditional Indian craftsmanship and luxury European brands, as well as the emergence of a new generation of fashion designers, and ethics in production and manufacturing.

During that day, other talks will take place. In the morning, you can join designer Alistair Trung, writer Bri Lee, and Director of MAAS, Dolla Meerrillees, for an interactive panel about books and their power to shape our thinking regarding gender, identity and dressing codes. In the afternoon, you can hear first-hand the personal experience in the fashion world by Tara Moss, a model-turned-author; and a conversation between Helen Garner – journalist, screenwriter, and novelist –, Charlotte Wood – novelist –, and Gabriela Tylesova – costume designer for plays and musicals such as Sweeney Todd and Salomé –, who will discuss the importance of dressing and clothing when creating characters and their identities.
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Manolo. Image courtesy of Transmission Films
Fashion is a huge industry, one of the most polluting and exploiting in the world. For that reason, SCCI Fashion Hub also takes into account how can we improve it by dedicating an entire day – Sunday 8 – to ethical fashion. Speakers include Paul Castro, a teacher at RMIT who explores upcycled fashion and its socio-political implications; Bianc Spender, an Australian fashion designer whose brand has environmental consciousness in its DNA; Dr Clara Vuletich, who will offer a workshop about sutra hand-stitching and its link with Kundalini yoga; and a panel discussion including Caroline Poiner (Artisans of Fashion), Bandana Tewari (Vogue India) and Lakshmi Sukumaran (SAAKI, fashion brand) who will talk about sustainability and craftsmanship in India.

But activities are endless, so now it’s up to you to see what’s the most interesting. On a final note, I will just say you can’t miss the day dedicated to fashion film (with short films, the new documentary of Manolo Blahnik, and even a VR experience), the striking performance Women in Shadow by the Iranian artist Nasim Nasr, the day dedicated to fashion as art, the talk/discussion between Sebastian Supel – founder of Aoyama Archive – and Octavius La Rosa – founder of dot COMME –, who both have established themselves as collectors of rare items by Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, and Karen Walker’s talk as part of the day dedicated to Fashion Business Futures.
SCCI Fashion Hub will take place from April 5 to 21 in different locations of Sydney. To check their complete program, visit their website.
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Image courtesy of Gail Sorronda. Photo: Emilie Elizabeth
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Still from The Future of Fashion is Queer. Producers and Directors: Jack Atherton and Andre Shannon.